Last spring, the University of Montana had to make some tough decisions -- among them, cutting a portion of their staff. A professor of art, Jack Metcalf didn’t make the cut, but he’s making a comeback in a new way.
"Two weeks before the fall semester began, I got a letter that said I had been laid off due to COVID-related issues, and I had been scheduled to teach three courses in the fall, but they...I don't know, they found another way," said Metcalf.
A blow to his job security, no doubt, but art professor and longtime Missoula bartender Jack Metcalf felt the pandemic panic long before he was released from the university.
A series of setbacks in the spring had him sweating. "We moved completely online, my son was homeschooled, and the bars were closed," said Metcalf. With a pit in his stomach and a unique skill set, Metcalf activated "Plan B." He posted an ad offering his hand at ANY and ALL odd jobs.
The responses poured in, and before he knew it, he was operating his own business -- Real Odd Good Job -- and some of the jobs were odd alright.
"Catio was a fun one," said Metcalf, "They had an idea and they wanted the cat to be able to go out this window and go into a safe little enclosure where they can lounge and enjoy the sun, but also have some shade. They were very specific."
In some ways, the stars aligned for this Jack of all trades - released from UM, newfound time on his hands, and a yard full of talent, he could take on those projects Missoulians had been neglecting for years.
"I’ve been busy ever since, probably too busy," said Metcalf.
He’s even found a niche in the odd job market, creating fixtures for commercial spaces like Clyde Coffee and The General Public. But he’ll also fix his neighbor’s garage door opener or create an outlandish playhouse. "I like the sweet, sentimental things where people don’t know who to call or how to get it done," said Metcalf.
Metcalf is still working out the kinks of being a first time independently-employed businessman, but with the grit of a handyman and the knowledge of a professor - navigating entrepreneurship in this pandemic is nothing more than just another odd job.
Metcalf is booked up until about mid-summer, and can’t take on too many jobs, but, if you think your job might just be odd enough for him, he says you can go ahead and give him a shout here.